Cockspur Fine Rum

imageIn 1884 Danish sailor Valdemar Hanschell created Cockspur rum in Barbados.  The rum has been an integral part of island life ever since.  Cockspur is distilled using, what at the time was considered a revolutionary continuous still, along with more traditional pot stills.  Cockspur Fine Rum is the companies flagship brand.  In most territories outside of Barabos it is to be found alongside their 12 year old rum (Cockspur 12/VSOR) and the companies more recent spiced variant (Cockspur Spiced).  More information and background on the Cockspur brand is available at http://cockspurrum.com/home.

The rum I am reviewing is actually bottled in the UK, more specifically in Glasgow, Scotland by the Cockspur Rum Company.  It is bottled in 70cl bottles at 37.5% abv.  This abv is different to the strength in many other countries.  The US offering for instance is 40% abv.  I don’t know why the rum is bottled at a lower strength in the UK.  I suspect with the high taxing of UK spirits it may be to try and slightly counteract that.  It may also be part of the crusade against “binge drinking”.  Which is routinely blamed for all the countries ill’s in the gutter press.

The rum comes in a standard bar bottle.  The Cockspur cockerel is, as always prominent.  The cockerel is a strong part of the marketing surrounding this rum.  He even gets out and about making nightclub appearances and various other cameos.  The label displays the three gold medals the rum has won at the IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) 1981,1984,1989.  I’m not sure how the IWSC medals work so I don’t know why they have haven’t won one since 1989.  Maybe you are only allowed 3?  If you know please feel free to comment.  It’s only something I have just noticed upon studying the bottle.

Cockspur Fine Rum Review BarbadosThe rum is more commonly known as Cockpur 5 star.  As you can see from the photo this is due to the 5 “World Cup” like stars above the Cockspur. It is both modern and classy at the same time.  In terms of presentation, of a standard bar bottle this is pretty decent.  The rear label gives some information regarding the rum’s heritage and origin.  The only thing I will pick up the labelling on is how the rum can be enjoyed.  That is something I will come to later in this review.  If you find the brand familiar but cannot place it – you may well be a cricket fan.  The rum has sponsored numerous cricketing events over the past few years.

Cockspur Fine Rum is a lightly bodied golden rum.  In appearance it is similar to Mount Gay Eclipse, Appleton Special and Bacardi Gold.  It is Cockspur’s entry level (and flagship) rum.  In the UK it competes for shelf space with the rums mentioned earlier.  Due to being stocked by most of the UK’s supermarkets and more popular convenience stores the rum can often be picked up for around £12-13 per bottle.  When it isn’t on sale it is usually around the £15-17 mark in keeping, again with other entry level golden rum’s.

On pouring the rum the rum is a golden/straw colour.  Cockspur Fine Rum gives off a subtle aroma of tropical fruit and a little lightly spiced oak and a hint of vanilla.  From what I understand (again feel free to clarify) the rum’s in the blend are aged for between 3 and 5 years.  Based on value for ageing the rum ticks the box.

Tastewise,  is how a rum must be judged so there is no good it being aged and relatively inexpensive if it tastes like turpentine.  The rear label advises that this rum can be sipped or enjoyed over ice.  When sipped the rum is nowhere near as rough as I was expecting.  It is quite oaky with hints of tobacco.  The hints of citrus and tropical fruits that were present on nosing subside, leaving you with a relatively smooth but not really all that satisfying sipper.  It’s just okay.  It does leave a slightly acidic aftertaste, which won’t appeal to all but I don’t actually mind.  When tried over ice the rum just becomes completely non-descript.  I really don’t agree that the rum stands up over ice. Sorry label.  It is after all a light Bajan style rum.  Drown it with more water? Bad idea.

The first clue as to how I rate this rum comes from my list of Rum Reviews.  It is Cockspur Rum Review Fine 12 VSORextremely unlikely (and I have bought ALL the rum I have reviewed) that I would ever have bought or requested the Cockspur 12, if I had found Cockspur Fine Rum to be overall “okay” or “non-descript”.

It is when introduced to my good friend cola that this rum really starts to show why it is such a staple in Barbados.  The fruit that revealed it itself upon nosing comes through as a citrusy lime and lemon mix, with a little orange and pineapple.  It is slightly sour and encourages a thirst.  It makes the taste buds tingle.  The oaked tones still remain giving a very nice overall flavour and intensity to this rum.  In some respects the rum gives you that sweet and sour sensation that a bourbon whiskey affords.  There is a little bit “Sour Mash” going on.

Cockspur rum’s like their Foursquare counterparts offer an authentic and unadulterated rum experience.  Cockspur use coral filtered water which is sourced from right outside their distillery in Bridgetown.  They use only the best molasses as well, again from the island.  Whilst the Cockspur rum is inexpensive, it is clear that is not in anyway altered by artificial flavourings or additives.  It is a light, clean tasting and satisfying mixing rum.  There is great craftsmanship to this.

The Cockspur Fine Rum is not an overly sweetened caramel and spice laden cheap navy rum.  Nor is it pretending to be a Solero System Premium rum.  If you want a more premium Bajan style rum then Cockspur 12 is what you should seek out.  As a Bajan rum goes Cockspur 12 is as good as it gets.

So where does that leave Cockspur Fine Rum? A cheap mixer for rum and coke?  Well, in short yes.  BUT if we look at it the long way the answer is so different.  In my opinion there is no point rating rum’s in a “one size fits all” type of system.  This is partly why I have (so far) elected to not have a scoring system.  In my opinion rum’s should be viewed by the person tasting them against their previous experiences.  I first enjoyed Cockspur rum at a very early stage in my rum “conversion”.  At the time of buying it I really didn’t know what to expect from a gold rum.  What I found was a rum which was actually worth the few pounds more than the supermarket brand navy/Caribbean blends I had been buying.

In my opinion Cockspur Fine Rum can only be bettered in gold rum terms by going up another notch price wise.  An entry level (and this rum is cheaper than most distilleries) mixing rum shouldn’t offer even the slightest hint of a sipping experience.  Yet Cockspur can.  It can be sipped and it isn’t too bad.  Your throat doesn’t catch fire and demand 4 pints of milk to sooth.  The rum is brilliant mixed.  It is wonderful in a Cuba Libre (I find a twist of orange works better than a chunk of lime).  It works equally well in a Dark and Stormy.

It would be easy to look at this review and think that I have given it such a good review because it is cheap.  In some way’s I have.  In terms of pound for pound value it is up there with Chairmans Reserve and El Dorado 12.  Rums that can easily out rank much more expensive offerings.  It’s not cheap it’s just a bloody bargain!

4 stars

 

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